Taiwan military scrambles to warn off 30 Chinese aircraft

·2-min read
Taiwanese fighter jet  (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Taiwanese fighter jet (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Taiwan was forced to scramble fighter jets to warn away 30 Chinese aircraft from its air defence zone on Monday.

Its defence ministry said that the incursion represented the largest by China’s air force since January, Reuters reported.

Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has complained for the past two years or so of repeated missions by China's air force near the democratically governed island.

The missions often take place in the southwestern part of its air defence identification zone, or ADIZ, close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.

The latest Chinese mission included 22 fighters, as well as electronic warfare, early warning and antisubmarine aircraft, the Taiwan ministry said.

Taiwan calls China's repeated nearby military activities ‘grey zone’ warfare, designed to both wear out Taiwan's forces by making them repeatedly scramble, and also to test Taiwan's responses.

The aircraft flew to the northeast of the Pratas, according to a map the ministry provided, which is still far from Taiwan itself.

In response, Taiwan sent combat aircraft to warn away the Chinese aircraft, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them, the ministry said.

It was the largest incursion since Taiwan reported 39 Chinese aircraft in its ADIZ on January 23. China has previously said such moves were drills aimed at protecting the country's sovereignty.

It comes just days after the American president Joe Biden said the US will intervene with military force if China moves to invade Taiwan in one of America’s strongest statements of support in decades.

“That’s the commitment we made,” Mr Biden said during a press conference in Japan, adding that any effort by China to use force against Taiwan would “just not be appropriate”.

He added that such an attack would “dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine”.

Washington says it adheres to a “One China policy”, meaning the US has formal diplomatic relations with the Chinese government in Beijing while maintaining informal discussions with Taiwan.

Beijing, meanwhile, espouses the “One China principle” – that China is a single entity encompassing all disputed territories, including Taiwan.

President Xi Jinping has previously vowed to regain control over Taiwan – which has been self-governed since the end of the Second World War – and has not ruled out using military force to do so.

The Reuters news agency contributed to this article.

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